Monday, January 19, 2009
On Mishna Brura and arguments
(photograph of Roman Vishniac)
The hot question of whether Mishna Brura is a halachic work (and if it is, what this means) has been discussed here.
One side holds that it’s not a work of halacha, because the author did not follow the process of shimush (one prospective rav learning by example and tradition from an already accomplished rav) and did not pasken according to klaley hoyro’oh (rules necessary to figure out which authority’s opinion to follow in each situation — which are transmitted from one rav to another in a form of oral tradition). Instead, Baal Chofetz Chayim merely tries to figure out by himself who is right in a machloikes and provides chiddushim in halacha.
The other side holds that Mishna Brura is a work of halacha, since many authorities relied on it for discussions of halachic questions.
My rabbi holds that it is funny how you can have two people arguing and not realizing that they are not hearing each other — each one talking about a completely different aspect of the argument.